Big Ten's BCS Outlook After Week 7

By Derek Helling

Week 7 included some outcomes that both helped and hurt the Big Ten‘s chances of getting more than one team into one of the five BCS bowl games in January.

Ohio State had a bye week and in the same way stayed pat in their standing. Right now the Buckeyes would be on the outside looking in on the BCS National Championship Game and would need some help to get into that contest. However, Ohio State is still the odds-on favorite to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl if they don’t make it into the top two rankings at the end of the season.

Stanford‘s loss to Utah and Georgia‘s loss to Missouri should give one-loss Nebraska and Michigan hope. The Wolverines were dropped from the media poll by virtue of their loss but still appear at No. 24 in the coaches’ poll. Likewise, the Cornhuskers do not come in the media’s top 25 but the coaches have them in at No. 21. Nebraska still has an unblemished conference record and is in the driver’s seat to repeat as Legends division champions, which would get them a shot at their first Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl.

Michigan can still find its way into the Big Ten title game and therefore the Rose Bowl with a win in Indianapolis if it runs the table the rest of the way out. Penn State is in the Leaders division, so that head-to-head loss can’t hurt the Wolverines in a tiebreaker. For both Michigan and Nebraska, winning the Legends division and getting to the Big Ten championship game could be enough to get an at-large bid, especially if Ohio State ends up in the BCS title game.

A fourth team that is still in the discussion for an at-large in the Big Ten is Wisconsin. While the Badgers have dropped a game to the Buckeyes, not playing for your conference’s championship and still getting into a BCS bowl game is not unprecedented. In 2009 Iowa got an at-large into the Orange Bowl in that scenario. Wisconsin travels well and if they win out, they may have the credentials for a BCS at-large, as they are currently ranked 25th in the media poll.

More games that will affect the BCS fate of the Big Ten’s teams will be played out this coming week in college football. Whether or not the Big Ten will get two teams into those games will largely depend on their own performances on the field.

Derek Helling is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, “like” him on Facebook and add him on Google+.

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